• Ride a Waka or traditional war canoe on the Otakaro River Avon
  • Learn about the Kiwi breeding program at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
  • Observe early Antarctic Explorers at the Antarctic Centre
  • Cycle along stunning lakes on the Little River Rail Trail
  • Meet and learn from local botanists and environmentalists
  • Pohatu Penguin Conservation Projects and sea kayaking
  • Participate in a Coastal Restoration Conservation Project at Punakaiki
  • Beach clean up at Punakaiki Beach
  • Learn about climate change and marine widlife
  • Hike to the stunning Devil's Punchbowl Falls
  • Urban exploration of Christchurch's main attractions
  • This program is 100% carbon offset. World Expeditions Schools absorb the cost of credits mitigating 100% of the unavoidable carbon emissions as its ongoing commitment to responsible travel

The journey is set in the spectacular landscapes of the South island and focuses on the group working as a team in a number of engaging activities relating to the local culture, history and environment. We are welcomed to New Zealand with a ride on a hand crafted war canoe or Waka on the Otakaro River Avon. We then spend the next few days exploring Christchurch and its surrounds. We join a behind the scenes look at the mysteries of the Antarctic at the Antarctic Centre and lealrn about the Kiwi breeding program at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. We discover the impact of climate change from a renowned local botanist and environmentalist, kayak through the Akaroa Marine Reserve to learn about marine wildlife during which we have the chance to spot the endangered Henry's dolphin, the smallest of its kind. The variety of landscapes is impressive and unique and will help us gain a greater understanding of this fragile environment. We then work closely together as a team and participate in a Conservation Project within the Punakaiki region, not only learning about ecology and environmental protection, but taking part in an important coastal restoration project vital to reestablish the health of an ecological corridor providing nesting grounds for many vulnerable species. The effects of our contributions will have a substantial positive long term impact for the surrounding ecosystems. We will also take part in a beach clean up and learn about the impacts of tourism in fragile environments. Our participation in the project will leave a long lasting, tangible contribution to the area and its wildlife, as well as the local community. This is a hands on learning journey to get excited about!


Start and Finishing Point:


Grading:Introductory to Moderate   

On arrival in New Zealand you will be met at the airport by your experienced guides and transferred to your accommodation in Christchurch. Your guides will run through a full trip and safety briefing and team introduction. We will enjoy an afternoon walk in the Port Hills, the volcanic hills dominating the city center which have a network of trails taking us to the summit road. From here we can admire a panoramic view of the city and snowy Southern Alps. We then head to our accommodation in Christchurch and prepare for our first evening meal together. Overnight Christchurch Bealey Quarter

Meals:  D

After breakfast we will head out to explore Christchurch and first stop we jump aboard a hand crafted war canoe or waka. As a team, we will paddle for about 45 minutes along the scenic Otakaro River Avon and learn about the importance of the waka to the early Maori culture. Early Maori originally came to Aotearoa New Zealand by waka. Then 180 years ago, waka were an important part of the early building of Christchurch, with Maori and early settlers transporting on, trading by and working along the Otakaro River Avon together. We then spend the rest of the morning cycling around the city centre exploring its interesting new buildings. This is a very gentle introduction to cycling and we will have a full safety briefing prior to setting off. During our exploration we will visit Turanga; the innovative state of the art library then experience “Quake City” to understand the science of earthquakes and impact of the Christchurch earthquakes through photography, video footage and artefacts. We then weave our way along the Te Ara Otakaro Avon River Trail towards New Brighton on the coast, we’ll cycle through the abandoned red zone area of Christchurch, an incredible network of gardens, parks and deserted streets adjacent to the river. If time allows we will cycle back to our accommodation following the cycle trails or we will load the bikes and return by the group minibus transport. Cycle Distance: City to Sea - Approx 30km Cycle path is flat and closed to vehicles – some crossing of roads. Vehicle support available at all times. Overnight in Christchurch Bealey Quarter

Meals:  B,L,D

Our first visit today is to the Richmond Community Gardens to see an area that has been transformed from where houses once stood pre-earthquake, into a thriving community garden and horticulture space which has been created for all to enjoy and benefit. We will learn how the gardens have become a permanent and important part of the Richmond community, growing enough food to share, offering workshops on gardening and food preservation, food resilience, ecological restoration and community engagement.  We will spend the morning helping out; participating in an activity such as planting, mulching, a river clean up, or predator trapping. After a BBQ lunch, we board our private vehicle and head to Christchurch’s Willowbank Wildlife Reserve to learn about New Zealand's wildlife. We will see the conservation work being done to protect the local flora and fauna and learn about the Kiwi breeding program the centre is famous for. Willowbank tells the story of New Zealand's natural heritage using pioneering and innovative display techniques, with an emphasis on creating a natural environment and an up-close and personal interactive experience. Willowbank was the first reserve to open a glass-free nocturnal house for the kiwi in a natural environment. The centre remains true to their main goals to be part of the conservation of species and to educate and advocate for wildlife. Willowbank is a New Zealand leader in conservation, with success in many national, Australasian and in-house breeding programmes focusing on New Zealand native and endangered species, as well as many rare and heritage breeds of farm stock. This afternoon we return to Christchurch to freshen up before dinner. Overnight in Christchurch Bealey Quarter

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, we will have the unique opportunity to immerse ourselves in the Antarctic world. We will visit the International Antarctic Centre and receive a guided tour through the museum. Our program includes the Penguin rescue, exploring the Gallery which contains comprehensive ‘hands-on’ displays on everything Antarctic. We learn about current science research and animal adaptations, experiencing an ‘Antarctic Storm’ in the Snow & Ice Room filled with real snow and ice chilled to -8°Celsius. During the Antarctic Storm, a simulated Antarctic wind blows at 42km/h, which introduces a wind chill factor making it feel like -18°Celsius. We buckle up and take a ride on a Hägglund, an amazing all-terrain amphibious Antarctic vehicle. You’ll feel what it’s like driving across the ice, up and down hills, above crevasses and through water. In the afternoon we head to McLeans Island Reserve on the banks of the Waimakariri River for an easy ride through the forest before we go back to our accommodation in the late afternoon. Cycling Distance: Approx 18km Overnight in Christchurch Bealey Quarter

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will get set up on our bikes and then head out along the Little River Trail from Motukarara to Little River, running alongside both Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) and Te Roto o Wairewa (Lake Forsyth). Our journey will offer stunning views of the lakes, the alps and an opportunity to spot many of the 166 species of birds living in the area. En-route learn about the wetland restoration undertaken alongside the cycle trail. Later today we will drive to the Banks Peninsula and visit the beautiful Hinewai Reserve. If available, we will meet local botanist and avid environmentalist Hugh Wilson to learn more about the local flora and fauna and the environmental impact of climate change. Stay at Wainui Education Centre on Banks Peninsula Cycling Distance: 25km

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast we drive to Akaroa to meet the Pohatu Conservation Trust who have a long standing history of protecting the Korora (Little penguins) on Banks Peninsula. We spend a half day taking part in conservation activities, including tree planting, predator control, learning management techniques that help the penguins, or building penguin houses. We will also embark on a half day sea kayaking adventure within the marine reserve. The calm waters are home to to an extremely rich and diverse flora and fauna, including numerous small reefs and the endangered world's smallest dolphin: the Hector's dolphin. We will learn about marine wildlife and have the chance to spot hector’s dolphins, as well as the penguins, seals (and their pups) cormorants and possibly Albatross. Stay at Wainui Education Centre on Banks Peninsula

Meals:  B,L,D

Today will be filled with active adventures. We will start our day by driving towards the mountains and the spectacular Southern Alps. We will stop and explore an alpine lake or two and enjoy the views which greet you from Porters Pass. We will visit the spectacular Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area (Castle Hill Rocks) with its hundreds of curiously shaped weathered limestone formations, remnants of soft limestone from millions of years ago that have been eroded with time. We will have the opportunity to learn more about Karst landscapes and trek up Castle Hill ridge. It is then onto Craigieburn Forest Park where we walk up to Helicopter Hill (1256m) for panoramic views over Craigieburn and Torlesse Ranges. Overnight in Forest Lodge Castle Hill

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we will drive to Punakaiki on the west coast (2-3 hours drive) to embark on our 2-Day Conservation Project assisting with the restoration of the coastal environment. The Punakaiki coastal region is an important ecological corridor providing nesting grounds for the vulnerable Westland Petrel, habitat for the Blue Penguin, and sand plain forests bearing Nikau Palms (Nikaus are the most southerly found palm tree in world and endemic to NZ) and Rata trees, many of which are hundreds of years old. Over the next two days we will learn about ecology, environment and conservation while completing vital conservation tasks. We will have an induction covering a site tour, health and safety, and history of the site and restoration project, and learn what the projects involve and the species we are working to protect. At this Punakaiki Coastal Restoration Project (PCRP) site we explore the Nikau Scenic Reserve with its ancient, mature sand plain forest, then wander through Te Ara Taiko Nature Reserve which covers the PCRP 75 hectares we have restored by planting over 200,000 trees since 2008, and out onto the Pakiroa Beach which backs onto our site. We will learn about the West Coast's history of gold, pounamu and conservation, and how all the seeds used to grow our native trees and plants for our projects are eco sourced. We will head out onto our project sites and the surrounding environs to help collect the seeds which will raise our forests, process them for propagation in seed raising trays, and learn about eco districts and the many ways in which a seed may need to be processed and sown to thrive. Once they're big enough and have started to grow their "true leaves", we take the tiny seedlings out and prick them out - pot them up individually into pots and place them in our frames to grow on. You will help prick out the seedlings to become the thousands of trees we plant each year! We then grab a spade to have a hands-on learning experience about tree placement and positioning to give the plants the best protection and chance of surviving. This activity is also great for learning about eco districts, eco-sourcing and what tree will grow where. After our work for the day, we will have an evening visit to the peculiar Pancake Rocks and a short walk along the sub-tropical Truman Track opening up to the beautiful Truman beach.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will make our way to Punakaiki Beach and participate in a much needed beach clean up and learn about the impacts of tourism in fragile environments. With Sustainable Coastlines' Litter Intelligence, we help clean up the local beaches and monitor what type of litter is on the beach, learn about beach litter and protecting the ocean, and track the frequency and type of litter. Following a destructive storm in 2019, the Fox River was flooded with rubbish and plastic which still continues to wash up on west coast beaches, posing a threat to the flora and fauna of the Marine Reserve and National Park. Our participation in the project will leave a long lasting, tangible contribution to the area and its wildlife, as well as the local community. Once our work is done, we will drive back over the Southern Alps towards Christchurch and on arrival we will join a short walk from Arthur’s Pass to Devil’s Punchbowl Falls via Bealey Chasm (3.5km). Back in the hotel, we will have our last dinner and get our bags ready for our flight back home tomorrow. Overnight in Christchurch Bealey Quarter

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we wake very early and transfer to Christchurch Airport for our flight back to Melbourne. Breakfast will be served on the plane.

Meals:  B

Learning outcomes for students

A World Expeditions Schools adventure is a unique learning experience. Our journeys are designed to encourage thriving and positive youth development along with leaving the communities and environments where we travel in a better condition than when we arrived.
The programs are designed to enhance the following life skills that will help you grow as an individual:
• the confidence to lead a group and make decisions
• the value of working together as a cohesive team to achieve a common objective
• the ability to face mental and physical challenges
• the ability to adapt to new environments outside of their 'comfort zone'
• to appreciate and care for the natural environment. The environments we trek through are beautiful and often pristine, invariably the students will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding about how their individual actions impact on the environment
• build strong friendships and bonds with their peers and also the local peoples
• basic outdoor skills obtained on trek such as personal hygiene, pitching a tent, helping to prepare meals
Importantly our adventures help increase general well-being and build resilience in young citizens to help them deal with adverse situations in life.


  • International Airfares including tax and fuel surcharges ex Melbourne / Christchurch / Melbourne
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • 9 nights lodge / dorm with shared facilities
  • 2 Professional qualified driver/guides
  • 2 teachers from Toorak College accompanying the group in single rooms
  • Private vehicle transport including all airport transfers
  • All activities as mentioned in itinerary
  • Traditional Maori welcome and cultural greeting at Christchurch marae
  • Bike hire and helmet
  • Equipment required during coastal restoration project
  • Water, snacks and fruit during activities
  • Dept of Conservation concessions fees
  • NZ Goods and Services Tax (GST)

  • All beverages, other than at breakfast
  • Water bottle (please help us save the environment and bring your own water bottle or hydration pack)
  • Personal expenses (eg. extra snacks, drinks, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance (Provided by Toorak College)
  • Visa for non Australian passport holders

About Your Leader

Our guides in New Zealand are one of our biggest assets. We pride ourselves on the standard and quality of these great people who you will be spending your adventure with. All are highly experienced, certified in first aid and CPR, have a strong local knowledge, and many are advanced mountain guides.


Introductory to Moderate

Why travel with us

Why travel with us

Assisted over
14,000 Students Worldwide

Since the 1980's, we have helped students from around the globe to experience the world's most exciting destinations, allowing them to travel, give, grow.

400+ Service Learning

Together with students, we have completed over 400 Service Learning programs in developing countries. We will always continue to support causes including social justice, animal welfare, the environment and more.

Fully Customised
School Travel Programs

Want to include service learning, your school curriculum and a physical challenge, or any of the above? Contact us and we can design a program fully catered for your students and budget.

Safety and
Support - Our #1 Priority

Every school receives a detailed risk management plan that is guided by government advisories and the local partners we work with. We never compromise on the safety of your students to reduce the price of the program.


Want to find out more?

Our educational travel experts are ready to help you tailor an itinerary or service learning project to suit your school’s needs and budget. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.

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